Happy Canada Day!
Jen Farr + Catherine Snider
Jul 1, 2020
As we continue navigating COVID-19 and various stages of quarantine for the fourth consecutive month, Canada Day certainly feels a little different this year. A lot has happened since July 1, 2019, and we’re fairly certain that by July 1, 2021, we will be living in a very different Canada than we are today – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if there is one key learning we can take away from our nation’s response to this pandemic, it’s that through thick and thin, Canadians are committed to helping each other and others.
On February 11, 2020, before most of us knew that the world as we knew it was already changing, the Government of Canada provided $2 million to the World Health Organization to help vulnerable countries prepare and respond to COVID-19. Simultaneously, governments were also working furiously behind the scenes at federal, provincial and municipal levels to figure out how to support Canadians through the crisis.
But it wasn’t until March that Canada and most countries around the world began to experience the full impact of the pandemic. Almost overnight, Canadians started losing their jobs, non-essential services like restaurants and barber shops closed their doors and businesses with the appropriate infrastructure shifted to a remote workforce. In response, Canada rolled out its Covid-19 Emergency Response Plan and the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), followed by announcements of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) shortly after.
Then in April, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, announced the allocation of $159.5 million in funding to support international efforts to fight the pandemic, stating, “the COVID-19 virus knows no borders. This has been a wake-up call for the world to stand in solidarity and work together. If there was ever a time for countries and governments to support one another and invest in health globally, it is right now.”
In June, it was also announced that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) would be providing airlift support to transport urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies to and from distribution hubs in Africa, Europe and the Middle East on behalf of the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. These examples reiterate our country’s commitment to helping others to the best of our ability and standing in partnership with other nations as we collectively navigate this difficult time.
Though most of the country is now in Phase 2 of economic reopening and physical distancing requirements are beginning to ease, it is clear that we are not out of the woods just yet. COVID-19 still remains a national and international threat, and Canadian medical professionals and governments continue to provide recommendations, resources and guidelines on health and safety best practices. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to deliver press briefings on a regular basis, providing continuous updates on the actions being taken to help individuals and businesses get through this together.
This Canada Day, we invite you to join us in reflecting on what being Canadian means and how we can create a better future together. What actionable steps can we take moving forward, not just at a government level but at an individual level, to continue helping others? Whether it’s supporting local businesses, helping to make and donate PPE to hospitals and shelters or simply staying six feet apart from those outside our 10-person bubble, each of us can contribute to making Canada an even better place now and in the future.
Happy Canada Day!